Building character into our sons and daughters is perhaps the role of the parent most under assault, and for dad it is one of the most important.
What is character? Unfortunately, many people think it means getting children to behave in a certain way: “be this way, talk like this, don’t dress like that…..” This is performance based fathering.
Character, though, is something that forms in the heart, then overflows into a child’s behavior supernaturally. A wise man once said “for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Behavior does matter, but only because behavior reflects what’s going on in the heart.
It is our goal not to father for performance. Producing a particular behavior should never be our goal. While we are not always in agreement to pink hair, we may need to allow them experience some things as long as they are not permanent or detrimental to their life. Some parents do permit the permanent stuff like tattoos. Instead, fathering the heart is the best practice. As a dad, I am more interested in the intentions of the heart than the final behavior.
How can we father the heart of our children? We can put into practice the Six Pillars of Character© As fathers, we can be trustworthy; treat others with respect; show responsibility and be accountable for our actions, be fair and caring; and above all be a good citizen in our neighborhoods. It will be worth you time to go the website and get full details on these characteristics. (http://www.charactercounts.org ).
While not everyone has a Christian or religious background, a commitment to faith can make the difference in your and your children’s lives. A dad living out Biblical characteristics are caught rather than taught to their children. When my daughter was growing up, we regularly spent time with God as a family. From personal experience, we often think we are not making an impact, but Dad, long term you will be thankful and get lots of prideful moments in how your children turned out. Keep doing the right things!!
I know you will not believe this, but I paid my daughter to listen to motivational tapes, read books, and attend educational seminars during her high school years. You may be thinking, that sounds like a bribe. Well, from experience I can tell you now several years later, she is thanking me for those tapes and books. In fact, she now comes back and lets me know she is listening to them again. Remember parents, minds are computers… what goes in and we continually feed, will produce great output.
I encourage you to be all that you can be! Dad, you are an asset and are needed for our next generation to successful. Father from your heart and you will be called their Dad 4Life!!